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An explosion at a New York City power plant last night made it look like aliens were invading

Published Dec 28th, 2018 10:01AM EST
NYC transformer explosion
Image: Craig Ruttle/AP/Shutterstock

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We’re still several months out from the release of Avengers: Endgame, but some New Yorkers were convinced that Thanos had returned earlier than expected on Thursday night when their power flickered and the sky suddenly began flashing a bright blue color. Predictably, the actual explanation was less exciting, as the Con Edison energy company confirmed that the light show was the result of an electrical fire at a substation in Astoria, Queens.

“There was a brief electrical fire at our substation on 20th Avenue & 32nd Street in Astoria this evening, which caused a transmission dip in the area,” Con Edison explained in a tweet shortly after 11 PM ET on Thursday night. “All power lines serving the area are in service and the system is stable.”

The NYPD also took to Twitter shortly after the incident to inform concerned citizens that the flashing blue lights were due to a transformer explosion. “No injuries, no fire, no evidence of extraterrestrial activity,” the NYPD NEWS Twitter account reported, in an attempt to put even the most suspicious city dwellers at ease.

You can find countless videos and photos of the wild event all over the internet, as it was bright enough to be seen by millions of people living in and around NYC, but here’s one example from software engineer Jānis Lībeks:

But other videos taken closer to the actual substation were far more frightening, giving off Cloverfield vibes. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would look like if a sci-fi movie came to life, this is probably it:

Of course, any craziness that captures Twitter’s attention immediately becomes the subject of countless jokes, with two specific goofs being repeated ad nauseam by dozens of chuckleheads throughout the evening:

While no injuries were reported, the incident wasn’t entirely benign, as CNN reports that LaGuardia Airport in Queens, NY shut down for an hour due to a temporary power outage in the area. Flight tracking site FlightAware shows that no flights took off from the busy New York airport between 9:22 PM and 10:23 PM ET.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.